There is a common misconception that sand boas are difficult to feed. We have found that this is not true and most people having difficulties have major husbandry issues. It’s also perfectly normal for babies to go on a mini hunger strike while they adjust to their new homes. This cheat sheet includes our best tips and tricks for getting babies to eat.
- Double check your husbandry. Please see our Sand Boa Care Guide for basic care instructions. You can try a different substrate with more weight and bump up the heat a few degrees higher (96F-98F).
- Stop handling your snake. Sand boas thrive on being left alone! Holding your snake daily before it develops good feeding habits is a recipe for disaster. Leave the snake alone until it feeds.
- Wash your pinkies and serve them warm! Some snakes do not like the smell of frozen thawed rodents because the mice defecate and urinate during euthanasia. Thaw pinkies in a cup of warm water with a drop of dish soap. Once the pinky is thawed, run hot water into the cup and let it spill out, essentially tumble washing the pinky in clean water. Then dry off the pinky and offer it while it is still warm and offer to your snake.
- Feed the snake in the cage. Digging out your snake and putting it in a cup is only going to stress it out. Offer your snake food whenever you see it roaming about or sticking its head above the substrate. Try to gently wiggle the mouse on the tip or side of the snake’s mouth. If it doesn’t take the mouse, put it somewhere where the snake will find it (like under a hide or outside of a burrow) and leave it there overnight. WALK AWAY and don’t check until morning. Remove uneaten mice in the morning and discard.
- Have patience. It can take a few weeks for a snake to start feeding. Be patient. A few weeks or even months without food won’t seriously hurt a healthy sand boa.
- Try live. We currently only sell snakes that are eating frozen thawed mice, but sometimes they will refuse in their new home and want a live rodent. Sometimes it only takes one meal to get a snake started…occasionally they will want live for months. This is part of owning snakes and you should be prepared for this. Eventually most snakes will switch back to frozen (the trick is to feed them when they are VERY hungry or already riled up after eating a live rodent).